Soccerama kicks off tomorrow

WITH most of the action in international leagues all dried up, local fans of football will have a chance to whet their appetite this coming weekend when KickStart Football Club begins their Weekend Soccerama series on August 3. Making the most of what would have been Kadooment Day, the club has taken the initiative to rekindle the fire in the sport at their Barclays Sports Ground home in Wildey.

Speaking to The Barbados Advocate on Friday evening, KickStart’s Club Director Kent Hall stated that the main aim behind the series was to get football in some sense back up and functioning as it provides for people in different ways. Noting that the club had had a summer camp and training back up and running for the past four weeks, Hall explained that they provided the research needed to put this initiative together.

“We got our regular training programme up for the past four weeks which helps to get our coaches back in action, but there are a lot of our players and parents who needed to get back out in an environment that they felt would be safe. The Soccerama really came about because I was really trying to cater to the older members within our Club. But everybody still wants the opportunity to get back out there and play. There’s only so many drills people can do before they start to get a little tired of it,” he said.

With the event set for seven players per team and a maximum of 10 in each squad, the games will allow for rolling subs on a smaller field. Two 15-minute halves will see the teams fighting for victories in a round robin before the top two teams clash in the final.

Hall went on to say that it was totally justified and understandable why the Barbados Football Association was hesitant to restart competition in a formal sense, due to the high numbers of persons they had to account for. However, he also said that his club felt that they could do something on a smaller scale and make it work safely.

Noting that protocols were already in place for training and camp, Hall said that they intended to start small as only four teams would be playing the first weekend.

“We’re not looking to do anything too huge. We really want to keep it small and as we feel it is safe enough to grow it, we’ll grow it. Maybe it becomes something that exists in its own right when things eventually return to normal. There has always been a kind of a gap in football for players after the age of 17, because they can’t play youth football anymore and you have to be quite a strong player to transition to senior football. So a lot of the people who have expressed an interest are those in that 18, 19, 20-year-old bracket who don’t normally get an outlet, so it may be something that can exist in its own right beyond this period, but right now we just wanted to find something that was safe, controllable and at least added an element of competition to it,” he said.

Stating that there was some initial apprehension, he went on to say that the plan was to continue with it as it had the potential to take on a life of its own as Barbadians loved football.

“We want to try to do it every weekend. I have been testing the waters with our players for a couple weeks now, but with everything else that has been going on, it has not gotten as much attention as would have hoped for. But our training programme is now up and running in a steady way and we feel comfortable that all our ducks are in a row in that department.”

Stating that he knew that it was not business as usual, Hall said that KickStart was doing all in their power to ensure that the environment was safe and the experience positive.

“We tested it out a couple weekends with some of our senior players and last weekend had a pretty good turnout and everybody seemed to enjoy it. Included in that testing was some of the gameplay rules, so we are satisfied that we came up with something that can work and can be enjoyable.”

He did say that he was aware that it could take on a life of its own and added that the club would be willing to expand it based on the level of response.

“If there is a demand and we see that there are eight teams that want to be playing, then we will certainly be looking at how we can make this grow. Equally though, we want to be very mindful of not creating a situation that is somewhere between hard and impossible to manage. As long as we can do it safely, we will be happy to look at expanding it,” he said, before saying that they would possibly have to look at doing groups over two days as opposed to one to ensure that the gathering is not too big. (MP)

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